Ronan Dunne, CEO of Telefonica UK has been shortlisted for the Ashridge Business School Leader of the Year Award for navigating O2 through a major period of transformation as the longest serving CEO in the Telecoms sector, and redesigning its business model to disrupt the industry.

Dunne will be up against four other high profile business leaders including: Saker Nusseibeh, CEO of Hermes Investment Management; Fiona Woolf CBE, Lord Mayor of London; Steve Morgan, Executive Chairman of Redrow; and Moya Greene, CEO of Royal Mail.

Dunne commented: “It’s a great honour to be nominated and to represent Telefonica UK at the National Business Awards. I am privileged to lead a digital communications company filled with talented hard-working people and this nomination is recognition of everyone’s achievements.”

The winner will be chosen by a combination of a public vote and a peer ballot of over 40 executives. Members of the public can vote by visiting and choosing their favourite candidate online until 28th October. The winner will be revealed at the award ceremony on 11 November at the Grosvenor House Hotel, Park Lane.

The CEO judging panel will be chaired by Allister Heath, Deputy Editor, Telegraph Media Group, and will comprise business leaders and influencers including: Dame Helen Alexander, Chairman of UBM; Dominic Jermey, Chief Executive of UK Trade & Investment; Joe Lynam, the BBC’s Business Economics Correspondent; and Nigel Kershaw, Chairman of Big Issue Invest. They will convene at a private screening of video interviews of the finalists on 29th October to debate the attributes of each and vote for the strongest candidate.

The Ashridge Business School Leader of the Year Award recognises the personal impact of the UK’s most high profile leaders on the culture and success of their organisations and the industries they operate in. Judges look at how these leaders have demonstrated the best balance between traditional board values and the new business environment – achieving measured and sustainable growth or driving improved performance. This year the panel will be focusing on transformation and how these leaders have led it in the most successful way considering the context of their organisation.

Alex Evans, Programme Director of the National Business Awards said: “Each of this year’s Leader of the Year finalists have successfully led change at their organisations – whether it’s Steve Morgan’s turnaround of Redrow’s financial performance; Ronan Dunne’s disruptive business model for O2; Saker Nusseibeh’s campaign to change the culture of investment management at Hermes and the wider industry; Fiona Woolf’s work to change perceptions in and of the City of London; and Moya Greene’s engagement of staff and the unions in the Royal Mail’s privatisation.”

Kai Peters, CEO at Ashridge Business School commented: “The central theme for this year’s Leader of the Year Award is ‘the transformational leader’. Leadership is increasingly complex. The digital age has changed the way we work and has powerfully impacted on society, politics and business worldwide. Geographic and cultural boundaries have become blurred and the rapid pace of globalisation is changing the definition of what makes a good business leader. Today, leaders at all levels require not only outstanding skills, confidence and resilience, they must also model sustainable and authentic leadership and innovate to create an ethical environment.

“At Ashridge, our focus is on developing the practical skills, knowledge, characteristics and behaviours of leaders to create positive change in their organisation and industry. I am impressed by the calibre and achievements of the five inspirational and exceptional CEOs selected for this award. Robust ethical leadership to navigate these turbulent times has never been greater, and this award celebrates some of the best CEOs in business today.”

Previous winners of the award include Martin McCourt, Former CEO Dyson (2010), Ruby McGregor-Smith, CEO MITIE Group (2011), Phil Smith, CEO of Cisco UK & Ireland (2012) and Harriet Green, CEO Thomas Cook (2013).

All finalists for this year’s National Business Awards have now been revealed, showcasing over 140 of Britain’s leading businesses, business leaders and social enterprises. The finalists represent categories including the Market Gravity Innovation Award, the UKTI Digital Business of the Year and the QBE FTSE 100 Business of the Year.

Visit for a full list of all finalists and to book a table at the event.

The National Business Awards supports The Prince’s Trust, a charity that offers practical and financial support to young people who need it.

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